By BlueInk Staff
You did it, your book is finished! It’s a moment worthy of celebration. But if you have dreams of finally setting your laptop aside for awhile, it’s time to think again: In today’s book world, the reality is that you’ll be busier than ever, looking for online ways to market your book. This is the next step for the savvy self-publisher.
In this ongoing blog series we offer genre-specific advice on selling your book on social media. Today, we focus on poetry titles.
When it comes to poetry books, there are countless groups with a devotion to the genre. Your task is to find these forums and engage with them. When using social media, it’s important that members feel you are a dedicated participant, not someone solely interested in promoting your book. So you will need to join in the conversations going on in each forum. Once you’ve established yourself, you can let members know of your book, even giving out special offers and so on.
Below are many useful resources. Feel free to share your favorites with us and we will add them to the list.
Facebook is invaluable for those marketing on a budget. You’ll want to start by creating a business page devoted to your poetry book. After that, you have to get people to like your page— the hard part. There are numerous webinars, books, and blogs devoted to how to do this. Facebook has an easy step-by-step guide to help you out with this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/
Keep in mind that Facebook has now become monetized, which means that while you can reach a small segment of your Facebook friends with any post, to reach a larger audience, you’ll have to pay small sums of money. Facebook calls this “boosting” your post. Once you post something on your page, Facebook will ask you if you’d like to “boost this post?” If you say “yes,” a box will pop up allowing you to decide how much you would like to spend and telling you how far your reach will go based on how much you spend. Once “boosted,” Facebook will send the item out to like-minded pages, where it will appear on those timelines. It’s a sure way to get your book on the feeds of people interested in your topic and to begin reaching out to those beyond your immediate circle.
One way you can start finding those people yourself is to join the Facebook groups that draw readers of your genre. Below are a few of our favorite Facebook groups for the poetry. Most groups allow authors to promote their work on the page (within reason):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/poeticallyinclined/ (17,000 members) The website notes that: “This group [Poetically Inclined] is for everyone who enjoys reading/writing poetry. Don’t let this be just another group that you join—post your poetry and/or comment on other’s [sic]!! If you’re feelin [sic] the group, then invite people. This is a Safe Space and Free Speech Zone. People can post anything they want as long as it doesn’t violate the rules.” The group does discourage self-promotion, so don’t just post your poetry and leave. Join in and become part of the poetry community here!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/thatpoetryplace/(38,000 members) “That Poetry Place” bills itself as a passionate community of readers and writers where anyone can share their writings, thoughts, art work, or videos relating to spoken word. The only rules are to “respect all” and “keep it poetry.”
https://www.facebook.com/groups/fbps1/ (49,000 members) The “Facebook Poetry Society” calls itself the best group on Facebook where you can bring “anything poetry.” The only rules are, as with “That Poetry Place,” to “respect all” and “keep it poetry.”
https://www.facebook.com/groups/372069759625046/ (48,000 members) “Poetry Universe” welcomes all writers and poetry lovers. Group members recommend you read and comment on the poetry of those posting. Other than that, respect the group.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldwidepoetry/ (32,000 members)
With posts limited to 280 characters, you’ll have to be clever —and brief— in order to effectively use this medium. And don’t forget that you’ll use up several characters if you want to link to your website. Moral of story: Think small. (Note: If you are linking your post to another site, make sure to use a link-shortening service like bit.ly. Bit.ly takes a long url address and reduces it to only a few characters, freeing up valuable real estate on your limited character allowance.)
Remember to use hashtags. These can make a huge difference in how many people see your tweet. A hashtag is used to show what the post is about or related to, preceded by the pound sign (#books, #poetry, etc.). Each hashtag has its own Twitter “address” so people interested in poetry, for example, might simply visit #poetry and look at all of the posts with this hashtag. Using multiple relevant hashtags, while not going overboard, is paramount to a successful Twitter presence. If you’re offering a Kindle deal for your book, be sure to add the hashtag #kindledeals, as many readers look there for inexpensive books.
Here are some relevant hashtags:
Reddit is an actionable community that is divided into convenient “subreddits,” prefaced by the letter “r.” This allows you to promote to a wide audience, such as r/books, or to a more specialized community, such as r/YAlit. Each page or “subreddit” is basically a chat space that focuses on a particular subject. Visitors can initiate a topic or simply respond to comments that others have posted. The more people who respond, the higher on the page that discussion goes. Here’s reddit’s description of itself: https://www.reddit.com/wiki/reddit_101
Make sure to look at the right sidebar on every subreddit you visit, where you’ll find related subreddits as well as the page rules. Some pages allow self-promotion; some strictly forbid it, and others have special times or threads for self-promotion.
While Facebook undoubtedly reaches more people, it does not allow for this sort of specialization. We’re offering a few suggestions on the site here, but once you start poking around, you’ll find plenty more threads to get involved with.
https://www.reddit.com/r/OCPoetry “r/OCPoetry” is the main page for posting original content (OC). There are many rules here; read them carefully. The main page is for poets who want feedback and who will also critique the poetry of other poets on the page. You must comment on other poems to receive comments on your own work. With 48,000 followers, this is a great place to see what others are writing and to get feedback on your work.
https://www.reddit.com/r/PoetrySlam This is a subreddit is for slam poetry only. Poems must be in either audio or video format.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Poetry_Critics This is a community for constructive criticism and feedback of all types of poetry. It is also a great community of writers, with different prompts and contests every week. With over 11,000 members, it’s a very nice group to get involved with.
https://www.reddit.com/r/books This is a moderated subreddit to foster and encourage in-depth discussion about all things related to books, authors, genres, or publishing in a safe, supportive environment.
Pinterest is a site of virtual bulletin boards. Each board is theme-based. You can find boards on everything from bathroom remodels to Indian recipes to every kind of poetry book imaginable.
Each board features images of the topic at hand; clicking on an image brings up more information. For example, on a book board, if you click on the image of a book jacket, that might take you to a review of the book or the author’s website, the book’s Amazon page and so on.
The site is used for sharing information, but too much self-promotion is frowned upon. So, when you set up your Pinterest board, you may want to set up a board devoted to a larger topic, such as self-published poetry or favorite haiku books, and allow others to share their titles with you. Join in the fun of creating interesting boards that not only will promote sales, but will also be fun and engaging to others.
In addition to creating your own boards, be sure to search out other boards where you can share your pins (your images) and connect with others in the poetry community.
Here are a few that we like:
One last platform to consider when promoting online is Goodreads. Goodreads is a website owned by Amazon that allows individuals to freely search the extensive user-populated database of books, annotations, and reviews. Users can sign up and register books to generate library catalogs and reading lists. They can also create their own groups of book suggestions, surveys/polls, blogs, and discussions.
Below are some of our favorite poetry groups on Goodreads. READ THE RULES BEFORE POSTING! Authors who only post promotions and do not participate in discourse in the community will be ejected.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/233-poetry “¡ POETRY !” bills itself as “no pretensions, just poetry.”
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/28172-poetry-readers-challenge “Poetry Readers Challenge” is a site for reviewing poetry collections. Group members frown upon people coming only to “pimp” their books. But, if you’re a serious poetry reader and lover of verse, this is a great group for you to get involved with.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/195-a-place-for-poets “A Place for Poets” is a place to share and discuss your favorite poets and your own writing process.
We hope you find these links helpful. They will certainly keep you busy for a while, but once you get involved with the social media world, you’ll find this is only the beginning. Next stop: Instagram, Snapchat, Vine…
BlueInk Review is a fee-based book review service devoted to self-published titles exclusively. For more news and writing and marketing tips, sign up for our mailing list. And be sure and visit us at https://www.blueinkreview.com.